This picturesque hill station, perched in the Sahyadris, is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Located close to Surat and just 4 kms off the Maharashtra border, Saputara boasts of a great option for spending some quality time with the family at Gujarat’s lone hill station…
As your bus chugs uphill, crisscrossing over the Ambika river, you leave all the congestion of towns and cities far below you and enter the spirit world of tribal people. Nestled in the Sahyadri range, at an altitude of about 1000 m, this Dangi enclave derives its name from the Snake god revered by the tribals and translates as ‘the abode of serpents’, Saputara.
In winter, at the spill of dawn, trek up to the Gandhi Shikhar as the river of light bathes the streams over undulating mountains and the drifting birds, into a magical dance of awakening. In the rains, breathe in the rolling hills of Saputara, echoing green hues, lush with flowers, and watch the meditating rain drops sitting still on sloping leaves. Some of the thickest forest cover in the state envelops you. In the summer, walk carefree on the expanse of the Governor’s hill and see the sun dip into the Saputara Lake as the sky begins to shimmer with stars.
In spite of being the only hill station of Gujarat, it is minimally commercialized, still unspoiled.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Saputara Tribal Museum
The museum has a rather un-illuminating collection relating to tribal life and culture. Some of the more interesting exhibits are the local musical instruments, weapons and Warli paintings.
Gandhavpur Artists’ Village
Started in 1983, the artists’ village in Saputara is a unique initiative of the alumni of the Fine Arts Department of MS University. The village is a green space with a few cottages, house studios, residences, a gallery and a store. The store has an interesting collection of hand-crafted jewellery, knick-knacks and bottles decorated with papier-mâché.
The village also hosts artists from different places and backgrounds and gives them a space to exhibit their work. Art camps are organised for students as well.
Honeybee Centre – The Honeybee Centre is a small enclosure where organic honey is harvested and sold. There are a few beehives here to demonstrate how honey is harvested. The Centre might be closed during festivals or in the low season, so it is best to call before visiting. It is 100 mts away from the Artist’s Village, behind Aakar Lord’s Inn.
Highlights & Attractions:
The centrepiece of this hill resort is its lake, which offers boating facilities and lakeside recreational activities. You can hire boats from the boat-house between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm every day.
How to get there
BY ROAD: The town of Waghai is 51 kms away. Ahmedabad: 409 kms. Surat: 164 kms. Mumbai: 250 kms. Vadodara: 309 kms. There are State Transport buses and private luxury coaches from Waghai and Ahmedabad that bring you to Saputara every day. If you are traveling by a private car, then the National Highway might be quicker, but the state highway will offers a stunningly scenic drive.
BY RAIL: The nearest railway station is Waghai, on the BillimoraWaghai narrow gauge section of the Western Railway. For those coming from Gujarat via Surat or Ahmedabad or even from Mumbai, Billimora is the more convenient rail head, and a direct bus service is available from there.
BY AIR: The nearest airport is Vadodara, 309 km away.